The Process of Spiritual
Wade E Taylor
When Jesus spoke to His disciples, He often used expressions
that were familiar to them.
"Now as He walked by the sea of Galilee, He saw
Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into
the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said
unto them, Come ye after Me, and I will make you
to become fishers of men. And straightway they
forsook their nets, and followed Him" Mark 1:16-18.
Jesus had said, "You will continue to fish, but I have
called you to a higher vocation. Rather than fishing for fish,
you will fish for men." Simon and Andrew were about to
be lifted from one dimension of their life experience into
a higher calling and purpose.
It may be that we fail to recognize the voice of the Lord
because we expect Him to speak to us with a King James vocabulary.
It is important that we listen for His voice in the everyday
circumstances of our lives.
For example, many years ago, when a heavy rain began to fall,
a farmer went into a shed to wait out the storm. As he looked
out at the rows of corn, the Lord quickened him to consider
the nature of corn and his understanding was opened regarding
the spiritual message it portrays.
The farmer's thoughts then turned to the parable of the sower
concerning seed that is sown into different types of soil
(Matt 13:3-23). A detailed comparison between this passage
of Scripture and the corn in his field formed within him;
and a ministry was birthed with five messages about corn which
portrayed the path to spiritual maturity. He spent his remaining
years ministering this one message with outstanding results.
One observation about corn is that it is golden in color.
Gold speaks of the "divine nature" that is within
the redeemed earthen vessels that we are.
"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,
that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that
thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy
nakedness do not appear" Rev 3:18a.
When we confess our sin and accept the cleansing power of
the blood of Jesus, we are "justified" and declared
to be righteous. Through redemption and Holy Spirit regeneration,
we become a new creation and receive a new nature.
"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious
promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the
divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in
the world through lust" 2 Peter 1:4.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become new" 2 Cor 5:17.
Beginning as a spiritual baby, we are to grow into spiritual
maturity. Salvation is a free gift, but spiritual maturity
must be attained. We are not to remain as naked new-born spiritual
babies, but we are to grow into spiritual adulthood.
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of
the Word, that ye may grow thereby" I Peter 2:3.
Jesus compared this "divine nature" to a seed being
sown into fertile soil,
"But he that received seed into the good ground is
he that heareth the Word, and understandeth it;
which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some
an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" Matt 13:23.
Just as this treasure of His Divine nature is hidden within
our earthen vessels, golden corn is hidden within a covering,
with a tassel of hair on top. There is a distinct gradation
in ears of corn. That is, not all ears of corn come to the
same level of growth, or maturity. Likewise, our spiritual
growth as a Christian follows a progressive development with
"Behold, a sower went forth to sow" Matt 13:3b.
The intention of the sower is to reap an abundant harvest
from the seed that has been sown. The condition of the soil
has much to do with this harvest.
"And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side,
and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell
upon stony places, where they had not much earth:
and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no
deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they
were scorched; and because they had no root, they
withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the
thorns sprung up, and choked them."
But other fell into good ground, and brought forth
fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some
thirtyfold" Matt 13:4-8.
The seed that fell on the surface of this hardened soil (wayside)
was eaten by the birds. Some had sprung up and withered because
it was unable to take root (stony places). Other seed began
to grow but was choked (thorns). From these, there was no
harvest. But the seed that fell into fertile soil produced
a harvest that was either thirty, sixty, or one-hundred fold
in its increase.
So also, the Lord "sows" His Divine nature within
the babe in Christ, intending it to develop into full maturity.
He uses this parable to teach us that the rate of our spiritual
growth is conditional rather than fixed. Therefore, our spiritual
growth will be greatly hindered when the "soil of our
heart" has not been properly prepared.
Thus, the seed of the Kingdom may fall on the "wayside"
(any spiritual indifference with which we have not dealt),
or in the "stony places" (the carnality we permit
in our life experience); or it may fall among "thorns"
(critical attitudes). These result in spiritual poverty.
But when this same seed has been sown into "good soil"
(the inner being of one who maintains a quality prayer life
and is spiritually hungry and obedient to His will), it will
yield an abundant spiritual harvest.
In northern climates, we experience an early Fall. At the
first sign of frost, we pick the green tomatoes from our gardens
and place them on a window sill where the sun can shine on
them. Here, they will gradually ripen and turn bright red.
However, if some partially mature corn is placed on the same
window sill, it will only dry out and become hard. This thirty-fold
corn will not become sixty, or one-hundred fold corn.
So it is in the life of a Christian. Many Christians have
the mistaken idea that they will be changed "on the way
up." They imagine that they will depart from this earth
realm as a babe in Christ and arrive in heaven as a matured
saint. But once our life has been lifted from the "soil"
of His dealings, no further maturing is possible. It is too
late, for like the ear of corn, no further change will take
Spiritually speaking, we are not tomatoes. Rather, we are
as these ears of corn. Our spiritual development must come
while our "roots" are in the ground of our present
There is a limited time for the completion of this process
of maturing spiritually. Just as the ear of corn must come
to maturity during the growing season while its roots are
within the soil, so there must be a proper response to the
workings of the Lord within us during our life time. Then,
that which we have become will continue to unfold and expand
throughout the eternal ages.
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me
in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set
down with My Father in His Throne" Rev 3:21.
Jesus qualified for His place in the Throne with His Father
by overcoming the hindrances in His path.
"Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by
the things which He suffered, and being made perfect,
He became the author of eternal salvation unto all
them that obey Him" Heb 5:8-9.
Now He is able to say to us, "You are to overcome in
the same way, as I overcame."
In using the terms of their vocation to speak to Simon and
Andrew, there was the danger that they would not hear as Jesus
intended. He did not say to them, "Follow me and fish
for men." Rather, Jesus used terms that they understood
to speak to them about a process that would qualify them for
a higher vocation.
"Come ye after me, and I will make you TO BECOME
fishers of men" Mark 1:17b.
We must "come" (our attitude and desire) to the
"place" (good ground) where He will be able to bring
about the changes within us that will qualify us to fish for
men, rather than for fish.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
unto good works, which God hath before ordained that
we should walk IN them" Eph 2:10.
The "good ground" is soil that has been "turned"
by the Divine plow. This plow overturns our own ways and exposes
all that would hinder our spiritual growth.
The seed that fell into the "wayside soil" avoided
the furrow in which He works. Our natural reaction is to step
aside when we see this divinely appointed plow coming toward
us. The dilemma we face as this plow digs into the furrow
of our lives is that it will turn every thing upside down,
exposing the problems and hurts that we had carefully buried
deep within us.
If we are willing to humble ourselves, die to our pride,
and let others see us as we really are, the Lord will change
us at the very root of our being. Then the unhindered seed
of the Kingdom will be able to grow into full maturity and
bring forth an abundant harvest; thirty, sixty, or one-hundred
Our new nature, grown to full maturity and ready to enter
a cooperative relationship with Him, is the "product"
that the Lord desires to harvest out of the "good soil"
into which we have been sown.
"Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field;
let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early
to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish,
whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates
bud forth: there will I give thee my loves" SS 7:11-12.
In anticipation of biting into a fully formed golden ear
of corn, should I find it had only come to a thirty-fold completion
in its development, I would be truly disappointed.
So also, the Lord greatly desires to bring us to full maturity
in Him. Then, in that day, when we are lifted out of our present
"covering," we will be found by Him to be a fully
formed, one-hundred fold representation of the Lord Jesus